Updated: Jan 25
Armada’s Antonio Carrizales and Richmond’s Marissa Germain both have shot some of the highest scores within the league so far this season, and recently, they got to prove their skill at the BWAC bowling singles tournaments.
Germain did so first on Jan. 13 at the girls singles tournament. She shot a 386 in the finals to best Armada’s Kenzi Nieman with a 378, claiming the 2023 title.
“I just focused and tried to stay positive and it just happened,” Germain said. “I feel like [my experience] gives me more confidence. It’s my last year and I want to power through and do very well.”
The senior said she’s been bowling since she was 8 years old and enjoys the sport for the stress relief it brings – even in high-pressure situations like she faced late in the tournament.
“My first game, it wasn’t the best, but I was like, ‘OK…you can stay positive and just focus up and just shoot out of this world for the next one,’” Germain said. “That was my whole mindset after the first game. I thought, ‘Yes she’s ahead of me right now, but I totally can do this and I know I’m a great bowler.’”
Germain said she and Nieman were “neck and neck” heading into the final few frames when she remembered something her coach Damien Germain, who is also her father, has always told her:
“It’s the ninth and 10th frames that are the most important because your ninth frame sets up your 10th frame and in your 10th frame, you get an extra shot,” she said. “In my ninth and 10th frame I did what I set out to do.”
With a spare and two strikes, she would secure the win and claim this year’s conference singles title.
“It makes me feel amazing. I knew I was a great bowler and then to go out there and shoot like I did and win the whole thing, it makes me feel so good,” Germain said.
Nieman, a junior, would finish as the runner-up. Fellow Tigers Sidney Dulz and Reese Cecil would also make the final eight, along with Lily McNaughton and Jaunita Higgins of Croswell-Lexington, Alejandra Politowicz of Yale, and Shayla McKeown of Algonac.
The boys singles tournament took place a week later on Jan. 21 as some of the best in the BWAC battled for the top eight spots to qualify for the finals.
Armada and Cros-Lex, two of the top teams in the league this year, each sent three individuals to the finals: Carrizales, a senior, led the Tigers, joined by Zach Obodzinski and Ryan Ching while Colby Irwin, Brayden Rhoney, and Donald Cooper represented the Pioneers. Almont’s Matthew Redmond and Imlay City’s Ashton Conklin also made the qualifying cut.
Irwin, a senior, would have the leading score after three games of pool play at 704, while Carrizales was second at 689. The two would bowl on opposite sides of the bracket until the met again in the championship.
“I didn’t feel nervous at all, I just felt calm and made sure to keep a positive attitude and not get down on myself,” Carrizales said. “I enjoy it but it does get tiring sometimes.”
Carrizales’ positive mindset became crucial after the quarterfinal when he managed to squeak into the semifinal with one of the lowest scores, 370. With a renewed sense of energy, Carrizales shot a tournament-high 469 for two games to qualify for the championship against Irwin. He would go on to win 437 to 358.
“It feels really great because I can see the achievements I’ve accomplished for right now,” Carrizales said, “and I want to try to go forward in being the top qualifier in regionals and possibly win states.”
The BWAC team tournament will take place this Saturday, Jan. 28, and then teams will have nearly a month to prepare for the regional tournament, set for Feb. 24 and 25.
Carrizales and the Tigers will look to make their return to the Finals for the chance to pursue its third state title in school history.
“We feel ready for it. We don’t feel nervous or anything, we think we’ll do well,” Carrizales said.
For in-game updates and other news, follow Calli on Twitter @ newberry_calli
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